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Some Basic Questions--just getting started.

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Some Basic Questions--just getting started.

Post  bvarbel on 18th March 2013, 8:22 pm

Today I put my soil together and built my first frame. It was more challenging than I thought it would be. I had trouble getting screws into the brackets.

Now that is done, its time to plant. I don't know where to begin. I want a few squares of lettuce and leafy greens. I want some tomatos--do I need a wire guide? I want eggplant. I wouldn't mind radish, sweet peppers, onions, green beens. I want to grow Zuccini and honeydew. I wouldn't mind straw berries

Can someone help me get organized here.

Also I want to know if I can add some kind of fertilizer. I used some very nice rich homemade compost from one of the ladies on this forum. I didn't add anything else to it. I have my own compost going, but its not ready yet. Until I start adding more of my own compost, do I need to add any supplimental fertilizer or nutrients. I only used one kind of compost, but like I said, it was very rich.

With zuccini and honeydew, do I have to have a netted frame, or can I let it ramble on the ground. What would I need to do to get a "poorman's" frame built...I'm the opposite of handy.

Anyway, I'm very excited. Thanks for all your infectious enthusiasm and motivation. I'm going to plant tomorrow if I can come up with a game plan.


Last edited by bvarbel on 18th March 2013, 8:38 pm; edited 1 time in total
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bvarbel

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newer than you

Post  Betty Ann c on 18th March 2013, 8:30 pm

I don't have the dirt in yet but .. following advice I got on here .. I went to the extension office today and was told what I could plant and when. Too late for lettuce here. They had plenty to say about growing right here in this area. I recommend finding your extension office and going in or calling.
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Re: Some Basic Questions--just getting started.

Post  Tris on 19th March 2013, 7:53 am

The book has an awesome super cheap trellis, I spent $16 on the two of mine following the instructions from the book, but subbing out the metal electrical corners and using PVC corners instead.
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Re: Some Basic Questions--just getting started.

Post  Farmer Don on 19th March 2013, 10:14 am

Hi Bvarbel,

I would place my tall crops ie. tomatoes, eggplant and melons on the north side of your garden plot. Shorter crops to the south. You will definitely need a trellis for the crops on the north side. Mel's recommendation of electrical conduit and nylon netting is great. I would ask the folks at your retail store to cut the conduit to length for you. I would go with 6' high or better. The width will depend on your raised bed. Pound rebar into the ground and place your tubing over the half of the rebar still above the ground. Depending on your native soil hardness three or four feet total should be good. Half under ground and half above. Determinate tomatoes are shorter and bushier and produce a main crop all at once followed by a much smaller and sporadic harvest. Indeterminate tomatoes will gro taller as they are a vining type. Weave them through the netting as they grow. Same with the peppers and eggplant. The zucchini poses a challenge. Most varieties are bush type. I plant mine in a separate 3' x 3' raised bed. However, I just saw that there is a variety called "Black Hawk" at www.territorialseed.com which claims it is good for vining up a trellis. I can't say that I've tried them. Does anyone else out there have any suggestions for a variety that vines well? Strawberries are doable by the square but since they are perrenials rather than annuals, you may want to consider a separate bed or pyramid system for them. When planting tomatoes, I always add a small amount of epsom salts and powered milk for extra nutrition and disease prevention. I also use a kelp solution when I water. Most web seed stores have kelp or seaweed available. It really works great. You could let your honeydews just sprawl out around your garden plot but they can get really long and the fruit is cleaner and less prone to bugs and rot if it is elevated off the ground. Also gets more sun. Here is a website I found which lets you map out your garden based upon your dimensions:

http://www.gardeners.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-Gardeners-Site/default/Page-KitchenGardenDesigner

Happy Gardening!
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The trellis is overwhelming me

Post  bvarbel on 19th March 2013, 10:27 am

I thought screwing 4 pieces of wood together and mixing the soil components was challenging...that's my skill level. I'm overwhelmed with this idea of building a trellis. I have read the book, and I kind of just held my breath during that part.

Also, I don't know how I figure out what needs a trellis. Like do eggplant and peppers need one? Can eggplant even grow now?

I built the garden, but now I don't know what to do. Is there something I can do instead of a trellis?

The garden planner is a really cool website. Thanks.
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Re: Some Basic Questions--just getting started.

Post  Farmer Don on 19th March 2013, 11:18 am

Peppers and eggplants could be supported with a stake made of wood or metal and tied off to the plants with twine. Or another alternative could be to get a large (20 gallon?) plastic pot at Lowes or Home Depot and grow a determinate variety tomato in it and use a commercial wire cage which can be bought there also. You just have to seat the cage around your transplant in the pot and you are good to go. Think of your pot as one square in Mel's system. I hope I'm not recommending straying from Mel's system here but I don't know of any easier way to get the job done if you don't want to use a hammer to pound some rebar into the ground to support your trellis. I'll bet you are more capable than you are giving yourself credit for. Why not try it Mel's way in the book first? Maybe a friend could help? Putting a trellis up this way is only a 10-15 minute job. Use tie wraps to attach the netting to the conduit. It's fast and easy.
Either way, I wish you great success.
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Ok, I'm gonna try it

Post  bvarbel on 19th March 2013, 12:07 pm

I'm going to open the book again and try to build a trellis. It looks intimidating, but I can just take it one step at a time. Thanks for the encouragment
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Re: Some Basic Questions--just getting started.

Post  Andrea13 on 19th March 2013, 12:47 pm

Hi there!

I am still learning too, and had so many of the same questions that you do. As far as planting dates, check out the Almanac site, and type in your zip code/city - this should help guide you a bit:

http://www.almanac.com/gardening/planting-dates/

The whole trellis thing baffles me too, for some reason. I'm clueless about the equipment needed (electrical whaaaaat??), and my tiny townhouse backyard can't handle a whole pergola system like some people have. I don't understand the concept of stringing at all either, nor do I think I can build a contraption to suppor tit. I'm hoping I can successfully stake my tomatoes this year, but last year they easily grew 6 feet tall, and I can't imagine how that would work. thinking

Anyway, you are not alone with the questions. So many of us are learning too Smile Best of luck!!
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Re: Some Basic Questions--just getting started.

Post  Lindacol on 19th March 2013, 1:05 pm

Brian,

Building a trellis is not really hard but you can also reuse other things for a trellis. Look at garage sales, thrift stores, Craiglist, ect.

http://inlandempire.craigslist.org/grd/3674823014.html

http://inlandempire.craigslist.org/grd/3598308416.html - wish I'd seen this one earlier when they were $5

Or a piece of remesh like this makes a good trellis. Just get 2 T posts (also from HD), one for each end and attach the remesh with wire or even zip ties.
http://www.homedepot.com/Building-Materials-Concrete-Cement-Masonry-Forming-Products-Rebar-Remesh-Anchor-Bolts/h_d1/N-5yc1vZas4e/R-202090219/h_d2/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10053&langId=-1&storeId=10051#.UUi1LhdO-8A

Also considering how hot it get's out there in Victorville, I would suggest starting with small plants this time for your lettuce as you might be late starting them. When it gets hot they will bolt (go to seed) & get bitter. They also could benefit from some shade to keep them going longer.
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In the same boat

Post  Windmere on 19th March 2013, 1:10 pm

I'm going to monitor this thread. I am also intimidated by the trellis issue. I hope to plant eggplant, summer squash, cucumber, sugar baby watermelon. I may be over ambitious.

study
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Re: Some Basic Questions--just getting started.

Post  H_TX_2 on 19th March 2013, 1:30 pm

The trellis in Mel's book is super easy.
1)hammer two pieces or rebar into the ground on both sides of your box
2)Place a long piece of electrical conduit vertical on top of the each rebar (rebar goes inside the conduit which is just a metal pipe)
3)have a piece of conduit the length of your box and attach a 90 degree or right angle connector to each end
4)Connect those open ends of the right angle connectors to the tops of the vertical conduit
5)Tie 4 pieces of twine to the top horizontal bar and cut them long enough so the reach to the ground. When your plants get tall enough tie them to this twine. Or you could connect the tomato netting.

Go into home depot and ask for the rebar, electrical conduit (it only needs to be big enough to fit over the rebar) and the conduit right angle connectors. They can most likely cut the conduit to the sizes you need then you just assemble them when you get home.

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Re: Some Basic Questions--just getting started.

Post  Andrea13 on 19th March 2013, 1:37 pm

Thank you for breaking down the trellis project Smile Is it too much to ask for pictures?? Very Happy I really am a smart person believe it or not lol! What does this thing look like (I will take it upon myself to google!) - is my HOA going to get all up in arms about it?

Love the help and non-judgemental insight!! Thanks!
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Re: Some Basic Questions--just getting started.

Post  Lindacol on 19th March 2013, 1:45 pm

@Andrea13 wrote:Thank you for breaking down the trellis project Smile Is it too much to ask for pictures?? Very Happy I really am a smart person believe it or not lol! What does this thing look like (I will take it upon myself to google!) - is my HOA going to get all up in arms about it?

Love the help and non-judgemental insight!! Thanks!

It's all in the book, chapter 8 Vertical Gardening in both editions.
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Re: Some Basic Questions--just getting started.

Post  Tris on 19th March 2013, 3:01 pm

The trellis is SUPER easy. Here's a thread with mine-http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t14893-my-sfg-bed

The easiest is to cough up the $$ for the metal corner pieces that go with the conduit, the hardware store guy can show you. The PVC corners are a bit harder but not much, just need a drill and drill bit, a screw and a nut Very Happy
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Re: Some Basic Questions--just getting started.

Post  camprn on 19th March 2013, 3:06 pm

Andrea, There are many back threads with photos about trellis set up and design.

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http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t3574-the-end-of-july-7-weeks-until-frost

There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t1306-other-gardening-books



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Re: Some Basic Questions--just getting started.

Post  bvarbel on 19th March 2013, 3:20 pm

I stopped my whining, grabbed the book and bought under $20 worth of materials at home depot. Evidentally it wasn't the rocket science I made it out to be. Now I'm just challenged with driving down rebar into concrete soil. One man said I could use water, pound some, use more water, pound some more...so that's what I'm trying.

Thank you all for your help. This is so exciting. The frame with the grid and the soil looks quite attractive in my yard. I can't wait to see when its actually growing something. Thank you to the lady on here that donated such wonderful compost to my cause.

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Trellis Building - Thanks to all for the information

Post  Windmere on 19th March 2013, 3:41 pm

Thanks everyone. I appreciate all the posts about trellises. Makes it less intimidating!

you rock
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Re: Some Basic Questions--just getting started.

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